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Wedding shopping was never easier

brunch Updated: Nov 15, 2014 21:37 IST
Bhairavi Jhaveri
Bhairavi Jhaveri
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Months before the bride takes pheras with her groom, she has established a committed relationship with someone else – her personal shopper. This is a relationship she regards with equal sanctity as her marital union, because she and her shopper have come to understand each other’s needs and adjusted to each other’s rhythm. The goal of this alliance is clear: to find the perfect lehenga.

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This is a trend picking up in Delhi and Mumbai, where brides overwhelmed by the scale and drama of the Big Fat Indian Wedding have decided they need help. Enter experts who are stylists, designers and image consultants all rolled into one. They’ll help brides and bridal parties create the look for different wedding functions, shop for outfits for the honeymoon, and assemble a complete trousseau for months of newlywed bliss.



"Some brides are confused or clueless about how to put so many outfits together," says Shazia Aggarwal, 29, a trousseau shopper and an image consultant in Mumbai. "As a bride, you also have so much going on, it is difficult to find time for shopping alone. That’s where I step in." Aggarwal has put together wedding outfits and trousseaus for five brides over the past year.



Each project takes three to four months, comes with varying briefs and caters to budgets ranging from a few lakhs to a crore. The amount covers bridal outfits and the trousseau – Indian wear, Western gowns, casual outfits, fashion jewellery, lingerie, shoes, make-up and everything in between.



Stylists usually charge a percentage of the budget as their fees. In exchange, they not only take on the headache of browsing, they ensure that the bride wears more than generic red and gold.



"You don’t want the bride to look ordinary on her special day," says Nisha Kundnani, 32, a celebrity, editorial and commercial stylist, and founder of Mumbai’s wedding wardrobe consultancy, Bridélan. "I customise a look for each bride: how to drape the sari, wear the dupatta, style the hair and pick the make-up, accessories and jewellery for her face and body shape."

Shop, design, style
Colour swatches, reference images, online research, embroidery choices and appointments for bridal showings are crucial when shortlisting stores and budgeting. So a lot of wedding shoppers profile clients.

Mehak Sagar, 27, a blogger and founder of the Delhi bridal shopping consultancy, Bridesbypb.com, has a questionnaire with images of outfits to understand the bride’s taste and personality: “Does she like bling, does she like traditional?” She assists Indians and NRIs, and includes stores across budgets, from Greater Kailash and Hauz Khas Village to Shahpur Jat – the new hub for quirky trousseau finds.

Bollywood costume designer Urvashi Shah, 30, styled her first groom this June, creating several looks and styling his uncles and brothers too. She recommends getting an outfit stitched if your budget is tight. “I chose the colour palette, bought fabric and added personalised touches by making shoes in the same fabric and adding embroidery to the sherwani and the dupatta,” she explains.

The film styling and designing backgrounds of personal shoppers helps them understand just how a garment should fit. “At designer stores, the merchandiser is clueless about fittings. [But a] personal shopper can suggest flattering styles and even guide you during alterations – a mighty task with bridal wear,” says Nidhi Bansal, 26, designer and personal shopper.

She often recommends lesser-known, out-of-home fashion designers and suggests that brides stitch lehengas from their mothers’ old saris for smaller functions. “It adds a sweet touch to a wedding and is the perfect way to personalise and add vintage glamour to the big day,” she says.

Trousseau tips
What to keep in mind while shopping for your wedding

Nidhi Bansal, 26

Designer and personal shopper

"Trust your aesthetic and be yourself. De-clutter your thoughts and chalk out a plan on paper with needs and wants, and take it step by step."

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Shazia Aggarwal, 29

Wedding trousseau shopper and image consultant

"Don’t shop too much in advance; trends keep changing. Always pick an outfit in your current body size, not smaller. If you lose weight, it can be altered."

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Urvashi Shah, 30

Costumer and personal shopper

"Plan so that you feel fantastic and at ease after you are married. Must-haves include make-up, sandals and lingerie. Avoid too many heavy outfits."

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Mehak Sagar, 27

Blogger and founder of Bridesbypb.com

"Pick classic pieces that you can wear even 10 years from now. Focus on good-quality fabric and embellishments. Throw in a few modern elements for a unique look, like a statement jacket, palazzos, and a cocktail sari."

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From HT Brunch, November 16
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